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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 26th day of Awakening, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 38 > Continuing Series > As Told by child_dragon: Part Fourteen - Redemption

As Told by child_dragon: Part Fourteen - Redemption

by child_dragon

I didn't flinch as the Lupe struck me hard in the chest. I was thrown backwards, and the Lupe leaped off to one side, growling. I rolled onto my side, groaning as my chest protested in pain. I shoved myself to my feet, and was immediately slammed back to the ground by the enormous size of the fire Lupe He leaped back again and waited for me to stand. He was toying with me, and I knew it. I stood again, and again he knocked me to the ground. I could hear MoonFall crying, and I glimpsed the horrified and desperate faces of my friends. And all around were the leering and laughing followers of WeatherWolf. I stood again, and this time the Lupe hit me from the back, knocking me to the dirt. A jarring pain stabbed up my side and I gasped in pain, struggling to my knees. I had fallen on a rock, and a sharp pain and tightness in my chest signified a broken rib.

"Stand up and fight, dragon!" the Lupe snarled from behind me.

He slashed lightly down my back with his paw, causing me to wince. I stood once again, facing him quietly.

"Well, fight!!" he snarled, standing there in a crouch. "I'll even let you strike first."

I shook my head. "I will not fight you," I said softly.

He sprang, slamming me into the ground again. I cried out as the pain from my ribs increased tenfold.

"Fight me!" WeatherWolf screamed, hitting me with his paws.

I curled into a ball, shielding my head with my wings. He rained down blows, enraged at my refusal to fight. He finally slumped to the ground, panting.

"Why won't you fight?!" he moaned in frustration.

I looked him in the eyes. "Because violence begets violence. If this is going to end, then one of us will have to back down. And I will not destroy a pet, even to save myself."

The Lupe stared at me in astonishment, and a startled ripple ran through the assembled pets.

"Not even to save yourself?" a voice questioned, and a blue Pteri stepped out into the clearing.

I managed to lift myself to my knees, meeting the Pteri's puzzled gaze. "When I entered Neopia, I took on a responsibility to protect and cherish the NeoPets, even those not my own," I explained.

"Bah, she lies. Weren't we all abandoned by our owners? Thrown aside and discarded without even a backwards glance?" the white Aisha named Deealoe hissed. The last rays of the sun vanished over the horizon. A chill wind rushed through the clearing, whispering of things that should not be known.

"This isn't good," I whispered as the obelisk glowed darkly.

Power seemed to gather around it, and the whispering wing strengthened. WeatherWolf seemed strangely unconcerned.

"Perhaps for you," he replied.

"Destroy the girl WeatherWolf!!" the Aisha screamed, hurling a silver dagger with one paw.

The blue Pteri shrieked and leaped into the air. She gasped, and fell to the ground, the dagger embedded in her shoulder.

"Jenina!" a pet among the circle shouted, shocked.

The Lupe stared in surprise at the Pteri

"You care," she said, voice twisted in pain. "That's more than any other human has done."

There was a flash of dark power, and a howling arose. I could see shadows forming at the base of the obelisk, hundreds and hundreds. There was a cry from behind me, and I turned, seeing my friends and WeatherWolf's group engage. We were outnumbered, but the arrival of the Shadows had thrown everything into utter chaos. WeatherWolf snarled at the scene about him. I staggered to me feet and nearly fell, the pain causing me to grow light-headed. I felt something strong brush up against me, and I clung to rough fur for support.

"He lied," WeatherWolf said from beside me, "he said we would be safe from the Shadows."

I grasped his meaning in a heartbeat. The Shadows were attacking everyone, indiscriminately. Everyone had gathered into a big bunch, my friends on the outer ring fighting with the faerie weapons.

"Strike the gate, open the way, stop the Shadows!" a familiar voice yelled, and I looked, seeing Terraile hovering above the battle, stringing an arrow. I held my breath, and she took aim. Time seemed to slow, and with a hiss, the arrow flew straight, striking the obelisk in the very centre. The Shadows screamed, and a dark vortex appeared around Terraile's arrow. With a resounding crack, the obelisk shattered into a million pieces, crumbling to the forest floor. The Shadows didn't move, then sluggishly regained their bearings, turning to face the group of pets. I gathered power into myself, and released it in a golden shockwave, destroying the rest. I swayed, and heard a clatter of steel being dropped. Sabreur's arms quickly kept me from falling and helped me to sit on the ground. Everyone was silent as they watched. WeatherWolf shook his head, dazed. He looked around as if one awakening from a dream. He wasn't the only one. Deealoe seemed especially shaken.

"It was evil," a soft voice said, a yellow Buzz. "Andů it was influencing our actions," he finished in an amazed whisper.

The Buzz hovered over and knelt by the Pteri's side.

"You saw it, didn't you?" he said, gently touching her wing. "You saw what we were becoming."

The Pteri nodded and closed her eyes.

"I saw. I knew what was happening, so I spoke out." She shivered, gasping for breath. "Citrus, it's so cold," she said weakly.

The Buzz shook his head, denying what was happening.

"No, Jenina, don't go, we'll get you to the Healing Springs, you're going to be all right, you're going to be fine," the Buzz said desperately. He gasped, staring around in shock.

"Jenina!" he cried, gently picking up the tiny form and cradling it to his chest, rocking back and forth crying. I glanced up at WeatherWolf, and saw sorrow in his eyes.

"We all have paid dearly," he said softly.

I was about to reply, when Sakuko gasped in shock. She pointed up to the sky. The stars, the moon, they were all gone. There was a rumbling, and the ground started to shake.

"An earthquake?" Padiglione cried in fear.

It was worse. In the sky, a black cloud started to form. Lighting streaked across it, smashing into the ground at random intervals. The cloud started to spin, to form a vortex into the sky. Purple light faintly outlined it, and I could see that it wasn't a cloud at all. It was a whirling vortex of darkness in the sky, a gate to the source of the Shadows. I stared at it grimly.

"The sun will not rise until it is gone," Terraile said grimly, "and if it is not closed within a few days, the realm of the Shadows will merge with the world of Neopia." She did not need to elaborate on what would happen then.

"Then this is it," Un-eairkagh said. "We've got to go in."

I shook my head. "No, only I can enter," I said. "I'm the Essence of Neopia, andů" I paused, searching for the root of that strange feeling I had. "That's where the Elemental Spear is," I finished. I turned to WeatherWolf. He wouldn't look me in the eyes. "Un-eairkagh will take me to the Healing Springs. Everyone else, see to yourselves and try to get home. There's going to be mass panic, cause if I'm not mistaken, that vortex is right above Neopia Central."

My friends and their pets nodded, while the rest just looked lost.

"We have no home," WeatherWolf said. "We are all abandoned."

"Then come with us," Netsuko said steadily.

WeatherWolf dipped his head in thanks, then looked around. "Where's Deealoe?" he asked.

The Lupe bared his teeth in frustration, then glanced at Citrus. The Buzz still held Jenina's lifeless form, the weapon gone. The Aisha must of reclaimed it, I thought, worried. But one Aisha was the least of our worries right now.

"All right, let's go, Un-eairkagh," I said.

I climbed onto his back, and he leaped into the air. We quickly reached Faerieland, the vortex sending strange currents of air about that made flying tricky. The Healing Springs Faerie was frightened, and gave me the best healing spell she could, along with a fervent wish that I succeeded. I stood gazing out at the vortex, not hurting a bit now.

"This is it," I said to Un-eairkagh.

He nodded. I knelt and placed my hands on his shoulders.

"Listen, if I don't come back, there's a letter in my top drawer," I said.

"If you don't survive, it's a moot point," he said softly.

I shook my head. "Either way, I want you to remember where it is." I leaned forward and hugged him close. "I love you," I said simply, trying not to cry.

"I love you too," he replied.

I released him, and stood. Tears trickled down his cheeks.

"Now go show them why they shouldn't mess with our Kiddo," he said, and I leaped into the air, my white wings flashing. Higher and higher I flew, the thunder roaring in my ears. The vortex yawned above me, a portal into a realm of darkness. I flew into it, and was engulfed into the maelstrom.

Un-eairkagh watched as his owner became a mere speck against the sky, then vanished into the darkness. He fell to the ground, tears spilling across his beak. A gleam of white caught his eye. A single feather lay on the ground, shining white. It had come from child_dragon's wing. He picked it up with one paw and clutched it to his heart. "You will return, Kiddo. I cannot live if you don't."

To be continued...

Feel free to Neomail me, I encourage it. I like feedback. Sabreur is really my brother, you can Neomail him also, though I ask you to go easy on that. He's in college right now, and I'd rather not have him mad at me for getting a ton of Battledome challenges, etc. Melody is also real, my best friend. She's in college too, her NeoPets name is horngodess, but I wouldn't suggest bugging her, she has a very demanding major and hardly any free time. Sakuko is also real, she's a really nice person.
Previous Episodes

As Told by child_dragon: Part One - Pals

As Told by child_dragon: Part Two - A Strange Tail

As Told by child_dragon: Part Three - First Fight

As Told by child_dragon: Part Four - The Arrival of Aldrai

As Told by child_dragon: Part Five - Netsuko

As Told by child_dragon: Part Six - Royal Runaways

As Told by child_dragon: Part Seven - What Really Happened

As Told by child_dragon: Part Eight - Fireflies

As Told by child_dragon: Part Nine - Faerie Quest

As Told by child_dragon: Part Ten - Dragon's Hoard

As Told by child_dragon: Part Eleven - Legends Alive

As Told by child_dragon: Part Twelve - The Essence of Neopia

As Told by child_dragon: Part Thirteen - Shadows

As Told by child_dragon: Part Fifteen - Trial by Fire

As Told by child_dragon: Part Sixteen - Water Quest

As Told by child_dragon: Part Seventeen - Earthen Boundaries

As Told by child_dragon: Part Eighteen - Tempest Wind

As Told by child_dragon: Part Nineteen - Song of Darkness

As Told by child_dragon: Part Twenty - Inner Light

As Told by child_dragon: Part Twenty One - Sacrifice of Love

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